Feb. 2 (Bloomberg) -- Most U.S. stocks gained as a drop in jobless claims fueled optimism about the economy before tomorrow’s employment data. Oil slid to a six-week low as supplies rose. The dollar and Treasuries were little changed.
The Standard & Poor’s 500 Index added 0.1 percent to 1,325.54 at 4 p.m. in New York as three stocks rose for every two that fell on U.S. exchanges. The Dow Jones Industrial Average lost 11.05 points to 12,705.41. The Stoxx Europe 600 Index reached to a six-month high as mining shares surged after Xstrata Plc confirmed takeover talks. The S&P GSCI Index of raw materials lost 0.5 percent as oil’s drop overshadowed a rally in natural gas. Ten-year U.S. Treasury yields were little changed at 1.83 percent. The Dollar Index rose less than 0.1 percent.
Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke told lawmakers in Washington that while the world’s largest economy is still vulnerable to shocks, measures of spending, production and jobs have improved. U.S. unemployment claims dropped by 12,000 to 367,000 last week. Olli Rehn, the European Union’s economic commissioner, said he expects a debt-swap agreement between Greece and private bondholders by the end of the week.
“It’s a wait-and-see approach,” Peter Jankovskis, who helps manage about $2.6 billion at Oakbrook Investments in Lisle, Illinois, said in a telephone interview. “You have a number of people waiting for the jobs report tomorrow to make a decision which way they go. You have the ongoing negotiations on the Greek debt on the background. I wouldn’t read too much into today’s trading.”
U.S. stocks rose for a second day after yesterday halting a four-day retreat, the longest for the Dow since August. Tomorrow’s monthly payrolls data is forecast to show employment grew by 140,000 last month after rising 200,000 in December and the jobless rate held at an almost three-year low of 8.5 percent, according to a Bloomberg survey of economists.
Gains among the 10 main S&P 500 industry groups were led by energy, financial and consumer-staples companies, while raw- materials producers, health-care companies and utilities declined.
MasterCard Inc., the second-largest payments network, jumped 6.7 percent after profit climbed 24 percent. Qualcomm Inc., the biggest maker of mobile-phone chips, advanced 2 percent after raising its sales and earnings targets. Green Mountain Coffee Roasters Inc., the maker of Keurig brand single- cup pods and brewers, surged 24 percent as profit exceeded estimates.
Profits have topped estimates at about 67 percent of the 246 companies in the S&P 500 that have released results since Jan. 9, data compiled by Bloomberg show. Earnings-per-share have increased 3.2 percent for the group on a 6.6 percent increase in sales.
Internet and social media companies rose after Facebook Inc. filed to raise $5 billion in an initial public offering. Zynga Inc., the largest developer of games for Facebook, surged 17 percent. Groupon Inc., the biggest Internet daily-deal site, added 7.4 percent.
Oil slipped to a six-week low, dropping 1.3 percent to $96.36 a barrel, after government data showed supplies climbed and fuel demand tumbled. Natural gas in New York rose 5.6 percent, the first advance in four days, following a bigger- than-forecast drop in U.S. stockpiles.
The Stoxx 600 rose for a third straight day. Shares of Xstrata Plc jumped 9.9 percent as the mining company said Glencore International Plc offered to buy the shares it didn’t already own. Glencore advanced 6.9 percent. Joining the two natural resources companies would combine the world’s largest listed commodity trader with a producer of coal, copper and nickel from Africa to Asia.
The MSCI Emerging Markets Index climbed 1.4 percent, heading for the highest close since Aug. 4. The Shanghai Composite Index gained 2 percent. Vietnam’s benchmark VN Index jumped 2.8 percent amid speculation policy makers will implement more measures to support the market.
--With assistance from Lynn Thomasson in Hong Kong, Norie Kuboyama in Tokyo, John Buckley in Amsterdam and David Goodman, Alexis Xydias, Claudia Carpenter, Jason Webb, Andrew Rummer, Paul Armstrong and Daniel Tilles in London. Editors: Michael P. Regan, Jeff Sutherland
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